Rust on the rims? You’re not alone. It’s an issue that plagues many car owners, and it can be a bit of a headache to find out how to fix. We have you covered though! In this blog post, we’ll go over all the things you need to know about rust on your rims in order for you to get back out there safely on the road again.
Why are rims rusting?
Rust is a chemical reaction that’s caused by moisture and oxygen. When you have rust on your rims, it means the metal has been exposed to water or something corrosive like acid rain for an extended period of time. Rims can also develop rust when road salt gets washed off from vehicles passing over them in wet weather conditions.
Types of rims and their susceptibility to corrosion
There are many different types of rims, and they’re not all created equally. Aluminum alloy or steel wheels can be more susceptible to rust than aluminum ones because the corrosion is caused by a chemical reaction with iron oxide on the surface that’s exposed to oxygen from water vapor in the air. Steel has iron as an ingredient while aluminum doesn’t.
Steel rims can be protected by a rust-inhibiting paint or surface treatment. You’ll also find that aluminum alloy and steel wheel types are typically more expensive than standard passenger car type tires because they’re susceptible to corrosion.
Top 5 Best Ways to Remove Rust from Rims
Buy a Rust Remover from the Store
A good rust remover can be found in your local hardware store. You’ll want to get something that is specifically made for metal rims and most of these products contain citric acid, which will help dissolve away any corrosion you may have on your rim. This might need multiple applications until all the rust has been removed but should work well if done regularly.
Your best bet would be to go with this method if you don’t know how or are not comfortable using other methods because it’s more “low risk” so.
Long as you follow directions properly and wash off after each application before it dries out too much (otherwise remove excess liquid). The downside though is that these types of products can be costly and you might not need them for long if the rust is removed with other methods.
Use Vinegar or Lemon Juice to Clean Rims
One inexpensive way is to bring a liter of water to boil then add two tablespoons of salt, one cup vinegar (white distilled), or lemon juice. Boil together until it reduces in half, making sure that all pieces are completely submerged so they can dissolve away any corrosion. Allow rims to sit in solution for about 15 minutes before washing off again with warm water and dry thoroughly with paper towels after each application.
This method should work well but will require time since you’ll have to wait around while the metal cools down enough for the solution to work.
Use a Metal Brush with Steel Wool and Acetone
This method is for those of you that don’t have access to the other methods or are comfortable using these products more than others. Mix equal parts steel wool and acetone (available at your local hardware store) into a small container, wet brush bristles in mixture then scrub over rim surface until all rust has been removed.
This might take some time but should be effective if done regularly, just make sure not to touch metal because it could remove any paint you might still have on the rim which can lead to corrosion again later down the line when salt from water starts building up beneath old layers of prevention where there’s no new barrier to stop it.
It also might be messy and make a mess in your garage or home, so if you have carpet around the area then consider moving to another location just for this one step of cleaning.
Use Rust Converter on Metal Rims
Rust converters are often used as an initial layer of protection before applying paint to metal objects such as rims that are exposed outside and can rust quickly when not properly taken care of. This product typically contains phosphoric acid which will help remove any corrosion from the rim surface during application but needs time (typically 24 hours) to work fully before washing off again with warm water and drying thoroughly afterwards.
You could apply acrylic primer over top after applying if you want to seal the rust converter so it doesn’t get wet or removed again and remember to follow directions on paint cans since some require a primer first, though applying two coats of this should be more than enough for your rims.
Use WD-40 on Metal Rims
WD-40 is well known as a lubricant that can also be used to remove corrosion from metal surfaces such as car wheels. You’ll want to spray liberally over all parts where rust has built up (including inside) then allow time for WD-40 to penetrate before scrubbing with steel wool until all rust has been dissolved away.
This might take several hours but shouldn’t harm rubber if done in small doses and you just need to make sure to use it sparingly to avoid damage.
Now that your car rims have been cleaned of rust, the best thing to do is to paint them
Painting car rims will make them last much longer than if left unpainted because it provides an additional protective barrier between the metal and the elements.
What you need to paint your rims:
- Acrylic Primer (optional)
- Paint of your choice in the color you like or choose to match car
- Two paint brushes: one for painting and another for cleaning up.
You’ll also need rags, an extra bucket filled with water. Paper towels are optional but a good idea as well just so you can catch any drips before they make their way to something else on your garage floor such as your car’s tires that will get ruined if painted over!
- Make sure the surface is completely dry which might take several hours outside in sunlight or use a hair dryer inside until all beads of liquid have disappeared from metal surfaces and then follow these steps below. Clearly label which brush has been used for clean up and which one for painting to avoid overspray or paint landing on your cabinet.
- Paint rim with acrylic primer if you want the protection of a coating that will stand up against rust better than any other treatment
- Apply two coats of paint, allow time in between each coat then rinse brush bristles before putting away so it doesn’t dry out (or keep them wet)
- Use a water bucket as an extra place to catch drips from brushes during the application process since you’ll be working near car tires and don’t want them getting ruined because they were painted over!
What to do to keep the rims in good condition for a long time
- Don’t let water pool around your car’s wheel well as that will only encourage more corrosion. Remove standing puddles by using a mop or squeegee instead and try not to drive through deep puddles where you can be sprayed with saltwater from people who like to live dangerously! It’ll lead to metal flaws which then causes rust so if possible, avoid places where there might be pools of water and don’t touch metal without gloves because it could cause damage down the line.
- Don’t use iron-based products for cleaning: they’ll cause oxidization which means creating new surface areas on rusty parts that are ready for even more corrosion to take place.
- It’s important to remember that your car rims are exposed to a lot of abuse and high-stress so they’ll need more attention than the average piece of metal or other vehicle part. You might want to consider using rust converters regularly just in case because it won’t hurt anything if you do but will help prevent future damage, too!
- Also think about what kind of wheel cleaner you use: dish soap is recommended for everyday cleaning since it has some corrosion inhibitors already built into its mix as well as simple green (which contains phosphoric acid which we mentioned before) can be used on oily wheels like from all those delicious fast food places with questionable ingredients while something acidic should only be applied if absolutely necessary such as with really tough grease or dirt.
The best way to prevent rust on your car rims is prevention. Cleaning them regularly according to the guidelines in this post and investing in an anti-rust spray will help keep those pesky little red spots off the metal as well as maintain a gleaming, new appearance so you can feel proud of driving around town! Rust converters are also useful for preventing future damage but only if they’re applied before any signs of corrosion appear, and it never hurts just to make sure that all fluids have been removed from rubber or plastic parts by using soap mixed with water.